14th Dec, 2021
, , Designation
As marketers look at 2021 in the rear-view mirror, they canât help but wonder what lies ahead for businesses around the world. It was the start of 2020 when everything was normal, and businesses were moving briskly on their set pattern, without any disruption. And it was in March of 2020 that the pandemic crept up and caught everyone off-guard. It made digital adoption a mandate for businesses to keep their cash flows running and market presence intact.
Almost two years later, the digital marketing continuum is not where it was. Whether it is creating digital demand generation, lead generation, or boosting brand awareness, changes witnessed in the last two years will stay and take new forms in 2022. Enterprises are already brainstorming new tactics or reengineering old ones to maximize digital marketing ROI in the new year. Letâs explore some turnkey trends that will shape the future of digital marketing in 2022:
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#1 Leveraging AI within the digital marketing landscape
AI is already being used to streamline and automate different business processes, including marketing. AI is primarily used in marketing to streamline repetitive tasks like keyword recommendations, data reporting, and analytics. Marketers are leveraging AI to build prediction models to understand the future behaviour of customers based on their historical purchases and browsing history. Going forward in 2022, AI will be combined with SEO strategies to boost organic and paid search rankings.
#2 Pivoting to a mobile-first marketing approachÂ
More and more customers from both b2b and b2c segments are now using smartphones to search for the products and services they want. Also, Googleâs mobile-first index approach makes it mandatory for businesses to create a mobile-friendly digital marketing strategy to maximize customer engagement.
Business websites and content need to be made responsive on smartphones and tablets alike. The covid-19 pandemic has made smartphones the go-to device for a number of daily activities, including video streaming, shopping, learning, socializing, etc. Enterprises need mobile-friendly content to rank higher in search engines and drive organic traffic. Also, it will be crucial for businesses to enhance their digital demand generation programs in the future.
#3 AI-enabled influencer marketing
Influencer marketing in the last few years has moved from being word-of-mouth marketing to content-rich marketing. It has become a major force in building brand credibility online across both b2b and b2c segments. Estimated at $9.7 billion in 2020, influencer marketing is expected to grow to $15 billion in 2022, with a majority of marketers stating that they allocate over 20% of their total spend on influencer marketing.
The next phase of influencer marketing will witness the use of AI tools for a range of functions, from influencer identification and tracking their engagement rate to performance marketing. It will allow brands to create a cost-benefit analysis for better influencer partnerships. Another crucial trend in this field would be the rise of omnichannel influencer marketing campaigns, with marketers advocating for sponsored influencer collaboration across multiple social media platforms.
#4 Intent data to revitalize digital marketing
Data is the central pillar over which the digital marketing plans of modern enterprises rests. Integrating consumer intent data and market signals with the existing customer database help marketers identify the customers who are willing to make a purchase. Once the target customers are identified, marketers can develop relevant content and messaging to push the customers towards the conversion stage.
In the coming year, first-party intent data will become mandatory as Google strengthens its data privacy and tracking rules. The internet giant has announced to put an end to cookie tracking by 2022. Since 81% of buyers research online before making a purchase, marketers will have to extract first-party intent data to boost digital demand generation in the future. They must be prepared with dynamic landing pages and forms to collect the first-hand intent data through surveys, online searches, registration forms, etc. This form of marketing can help personalize marketing campaigns and identify the touchpoints critical enough to influence a customer into making a purchase. Businesses would need a hybrid mix of b2b database providers and a digital marketing agency to execute account-based marketing.
#5 Voice search optimizationÂ
Voice assistant tools like Googleâs Assistant and Amazon Alexa are becoming a common feature across households. Even smartphones come with voice assistant tools that help users search the internet with voice commands. Shoppers use these tools to search products, find locations, resolve their queries, or even visit sites. It is thus indispensable that enterprises must make their online storefront prepared for voice search to maximize the value of their SEO efforts.
There are two ways in which businesses can optimize their site. First, they need to choose new or long-tail keywords for people discovering their site using voice search. Generally, the voice search keywords are something that the users may say rather than type. And, more often than not, users speak long-tail keywords into their device that triggers different online search results. Secondly, businesses need to make their on-site content more conversational and interactive to target voice search users effectively. Creating content in a conversational tone makes it more voice search-friendly.
Voice search shopping is predicted to hit a market value of $40 million by the end of 2022. Therefore, companies must leverage AI-powered chatbots to efficiently manage customer queries and grievances on social media, emails, websites, and other digital channels.
#6 Omnichannel marketing for connected digital experience
As businesses gravitate towards online marketing, they realize that it is not a uniform platform. It encompasses many different channels like social media, emails, websites, e-commerce, video streaming platforms, etc. Omnichannel marketing can involve creating a blog, website, WhatsApp group presence, hosting webinars, or live events across social media channels.
Moving forward, businesses need an integrated digital marketing strategy that will enable them to create content and engage with their target customers on each channel. It will help create an uninterrupted brand presence across all channels while maintaining a consistent brand voice. Multichannel digital marketing strategies will also make it imperative for businesses to align content along the buyerâs journey and build a strong ideal customer profile ecosystem using relevant digital channels.
#7 Marketing automation tools
As digital marketing continues to advance, AI-powered automation tools will become pivotal to simplify and automate repetitive tasks. It will allow marketers to manage multiple digital channels concurrently in real-time. Beyond scheduling and automating emails and social media posts, vanguard enterprises will leverage content automation systems to create high-quality SEO content to augment website content and drive organic traffic. This will allow marketers to save time and costs while focussing on core business processes.
Using automated tools, marketers can optimize and narrow down their ad research based on various factors like demography, geography, socio-economic information, etc. It will also enable organizations to streamline data collection, compiling, and segmentation for targeted ad campaigns, retargeting shopping cart abandonment campaigns, product recommendations, etc.
#8 Video marketing content will take the front seat
When it comes to content marketing, videos offer the highest engagement to online users. In 2021, over 80% of companies indicated that they were using videos as a primary marketing tool. Also, with changes in Googleâs search engine algorithms, video content will also become crucial for SEO optimization. According to recent research, videos are 53% more likely to acquire first-page rankings, with Google featuring video snippets to over 26% of search results.
Furthermore, AR and VR content will also find their way into mainstream video marketing with technology becoming more accessible and customers looking for interactive content. Businesses will also accelerate the adoption of AR and VR to create virtual experiences for their shoppers.
The fundamentals of marketing have changed drastically in the last 2 years. Digital marketing has become key to fuel growth and revenue in the new stay-at-home world order. While customers have become more digitally native, increasing accessibility of AI devices like smart speakers will accelerate the growth of digital marketing in the years to come. Although the marketing chips of the past will return, businesses will have to adopt digital-first strategies to further their brand expansion and customer engagement objectives.
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âSetting Up and Enterprise Demand Generation Framework for 2021 and Beyondâ